The Problem 51% Of People Can't Solve | Summary and Q&A

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June 25, 2021
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The Problem 51% Of People Can't Solve

TL;DR

Humans have a natural bias towards adding solutions to problems, even when subtractive solutions may be more efficient.

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Questions & Answers

Q: Why do people tend to add to puzzles or structures instead of subtracting?

One theory suggests that subtractive solutions may be less appreciated, and people may perceive them as less creative. Additionally, there may be social or political implications for criticizing existing solutions without offering alternatives.

Q: What is the sunk-cost bias?

The sunk-cost bias refers to the tendency to continue investing in something, such as time or money, even when there are signs that it should be stopped. This bias can contribute to the preference for additive solutions, as people may be reluctant to remove something they have already invested in.

Q: How does cognitive load affect the bias towards additive solutions?

Studies show that under cognitive load, people are more likely to use additive solutions. This suggests that cognitive resources are diverted away from considering subtractive solutions when individuals are multitasking or have increased mental demands.

Q: How can the bias towards additive solutions be overcome?

By being aware of the bias and consciously considering subtractive solutions, individuals can overcome the tendency to default to additive solutions. Taking a moment to pause, evaluate, and ask whether something can be removed or simplified can lead to more efficient problem-solving.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Humans tend to find additive solutions to problems, even when subtractive solutions may be more efficient.

  • Studies show that people are more likely to add to puzzles or structures rather than subtract from them.

  • This bias towards additive solutions can be overcome with cognitive effort and by considering subtractive solutions.

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